The Scouts are famous for the motto, “Be prepared.” But behind every great scout is a prepared parent! All parents know that you need your bag of tricks at the ready. Extra snacks in case an appointment runs long. A change of clothes in case a diaper fails. A roll of paper towels or wipes for when, not if, someone spills juice in the car. Some days, we feel like human Swiss Army knives, but thanks to the Coronavirus, right now, a lot of us are feeling caught off guard, unprepared, and overwhelmed.
Our team has gathered some of our favorite content and compiled Your Coronavirus Bag of Tricks to help you in 3 big ways: to be productive, to feel encouraged, and to have some fun! It’s our hope that even if we come out on the other side of this pale, squinty-eyed, and 10 pounds heavier, we can say we grew in love for each other and our community. So dig in! We think you’ll like what you find.
1. Tricks to Help You Be Productive
When you’re around the computer, TV, phones, video games, and tablets 24-7, it’s a lot easier to lose track of time spent behind a screen—and yes, this goes for parents, too! Our Screen Time Tracker will help keep things under control, so print one for every member of the family, pick your limits, and hold each other accountable.
Structure is Key.
Have you ever observed a kindergarten class? Structure is essential or the kids would be running in circles, eating glue, and taking off their shoes (or worse!). For families who find themselves balancing working from home and virtual schooling from home, our Customizable Chore Chart and Check, Check, Done will help your kids know what is expected of them on a weekly and daily basis. And your daily to-do list is a great way to prioritize what needs to get done today versus what can wait until tomorrow.
Listen carefully—you don’t have to do it all. This pandemic has given us the gift of perspective on what really matters, so take this time to look at what is necessary versus what can be eliminated from your plate. And with kids underfoot, now is a great time to start delegating. Make it the new normal for greater peace for years to come.
Need some peace and quiet to get some work done? Send the kids to the back yard for a scavenger hunt. No need to hide anything. Nature took care of that for you! So unless you have a super-sleuth, this will definitely keep the kids busy while you get a moment of quiet.
You had a plan for what age you would let your kids stay home alone, and then this virus came along and made you think a little differently. No, you aren’t planning a date night with your spouse, but taking a trip to the grocery store would be a lot quicker (and less contagious) without the kids. Our Home Alone Rules page is packed with tips for the kids, ways to tell if they are ready, and of course, a printable set of rules.
2. Tricks to Find Wisdom and Encouragement
This is by far the most valuable item in your bag of tricks. Prayer provides peace, wisdom, knowledge, comfort, understanding, joy in times of suffering… The list goes on and on. You’ll find prayers you can say over every member of your family and ways to come together as a family to pray, too.
If you’re feeling everything rising up: the worry, working from home, the classroom assignments, the lack of toilet paper, the economy, even just the word “Coronavirus” … take a deep breath. Start each day with these positive declarations to remind yourself of who (and whose) you are and what you’re capable of.
Sometimes the most useful thing in a parent’s bag of tricks is a little self-reflection. If you’re a worrier, are you passing that worry and anxiety on to your kids? It absolutely is contagious, so try these tips for protecting your kids from worry and loosening your grip on it, too.
We know we don’t want to pass worry on to our kids, but what do we do when the tough stuff is here? How do we talk to them in age-appropriate ways? If you look back on a time in your life when things were difficult, you might realize it was a period of tremendous growth and character building. With our guidance, this trial could positively define our children’s generation.
3. Tricks to Have Fun and Fight the Insanity
If you can’t go out to eat, why not bring the restaurant to you? Sure, you can get your favorite food delivered, but don’t stop there. Let the kids open your family restaurant with menus, decor, music, and more. You only need one table and there won’t be a long wait. Another bonus: Getting the restaurant ready is a great late afternoon activity that will keep them busy ’til the meal is ready.
If there’s anything the homemade slime craze taught us, it’s that there are plenty of things around the house we can use to get crafty. Homemade paint is like two activities in one. First, you make the paint. Then, you decorate with it!
The Coronavirus may have hijacked your vacation plans, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still take a trip. Grab a map and let your imagination run wild. This fun activity is a great way to work in some mini-lessons like geography, math (gotta plan that vacation budget!), and logistics.
The words “I’m bored” can send even the most patient parent over the edge. And when you’re stuck at home with every puzzle assembled and every Netflix show binged, boredom will inevitably set in. But now, you’ve got this great little tool in your bag of tricks. Next time, instead of getting frustrated, send them to the jar!
Turn the night on its head with a theme or activity your family has never done before. Backyard camping, No Rules Night, Guest of Honor Night… Your kids will think being stuck at home is the way it always should be!
Need more fun activities in your bag of tricks? We’ve got them right here! Tell us what has helped you with the Coronavirus insanity.